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Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party believes it should only remain a member of the European People’s Party (EPP) as long as it can help the grouping, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office said on Thursday, adding that the European Parliament election results suggested that the EPP was is in need of help rather than Fidesz.

Gergely Gulyás told a regular press briefing in response to a question that Fidesz would be happy to share its experiences with the EPP so that it could become a political family capable of preserving its own values and have a clear vision of the future, he added.

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Decisions affecting the European Union’s strategy for the next five years and officials must serve the purpose of making the bloc successful, he said. As regards strategy, Hungary has made its position clear that member states should be given enough freedom to formulate their own national economic policy, Gulyás said. The EU must also declare that there is a dominant culture, which is the Christian one, he said, adding that the EU should protect persecuted Christian communities.

Concerning the upcoming election of senior EU officials, Gulyás said the Visegrad Group countries have coordinated their positions ahead of the EU summit starting in Brussels on Thursday. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia support neither the spitzenkandidat system nor the election of Manfred Weber as European Commission president, he said.

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Gulyás said it would be wrong to let the European parliamentary groups choose the next EC president, arguing that the spitzenkandidat system went against the Lisbon Treaty and EU law. He noted that Weber “has made clear that he does not want the support of the party that was given the biggest mandate by Hungarians” in the EP election. Gulyás said the EU needed leaders “who haven’t attacked any of the member states in recent years”.

Gulyás said the V4 had not agreed on a joint candidate to support but there were several whom they would accept.

In response to a question, he said Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, was one of the candidates the V4 would find acceptable.

Gulyás said the V4 would also form a common stance on the EU’s climate strategy for the Brussels summit. He said the goals of the Paris climate accords could not be met without nuclear power.

Featured photo by Attila Kovács/MTI